Russia's Coronavirus Cases Surpass 290K as New Infections Slow Down

  18 May 2020    Read: 645

Russia confirmed 8,926 new coronavirus infections Monday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 290,678.

The latest increase marks a slowdown in new infections after Russia saw more than 10,000 new cases for 11 consecutive days earlier this month. 

On Sunday, the head of Russia's public health watchdog, Anna Popova, said the growth of new coronavirus cases in Russia is stabilizing.

Russia is the second most-affected country in terms of infections and has the world's second-fastest rate of new infections behind the United States.

Over the past 24 hours, 91 people have died, bringing the total toll to 2,722.

Russia says its high number of cases is due in part to a massive testing campaign that has seen more than 6 million tests carried out.

Moscow accounts for roughly half of all infections and the city said it would be launching mass voluntary tests for antibodies from Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week announced that a nationwide lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the virus would be eased, even as health officials record a steady increase in new cases.

Despite its high number of cases, Russia's official coronavirus fatality rate is low in comparison to countries like the United States, Britain, Italy and Spain.

Authorities say this is because Russia was able to learn lessons from the experiences of western Europe, moving quickly to isolate travellers and people at risk, and launch a vast campaign to test and quarantine those infected.

But critics have cast doubt on the figures, accusing the authorities of under-counting by blaming virus-related deaths on other causes.

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